Dr. Jada Lewis named MBI co-deputy director

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Dr. Jada Lewis (top) with Ariel Walker (left), neuroscience graduate student, and Lucas James (bottom), neuroscience undergraduate trainee.

By Michelle Koidin Jaffee

Jada Lewis, Ph.D., has joined Steven DeKosky, M.D., in serving as co-deputy directors of the MBI. Lewis, a professor in UF’s department of neuroscience and investigator at the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease, has co-led the MBI’s Education and Outreach Committee with Jennifer Bizon, Ph.D., for the last two-plus years while also serving as a member of the MBI Executive Committee.

A native of Telford, Tennessee, Lewis enrolled at the University of Tennessee at age 16 and, at 19, began grad school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earning a Ph.D. in genetics and molecular biology. She completed a postdoc in pharmacology at UNC and a second postdoc in neuroscience at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. Lewis joined the UF faculty in 2010, and her lab’s goal is to develop a refined understanding of the pathology of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and ALS.

Lewis and Bizon have teamed up with Gordon Mitchell, Ph.D., and other key stakeholders across UF to develop new, innovative educational activities and training opportunities. Lewis has boosted the MBI’s NIH-funded T32 training program, begun development of a new postdoc training program to be sponsored in part by the MBI and launched the Southeastern Neurodegenerative Disease Conference, aimed at building collaborations among a diverse group of researchers, junior faculty and student trainees focusing on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ALS. In her new role at the MBI, Lewis’ goal is to support the training of the next generation of research leaders.